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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 5, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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[chanting] ♪ this is al jazeera america, i'm john in new york, new questions about the rape claims in "rolling stone" magazine made by a student at the university of virginia, phoenix rising the protest and anger in arizona a case of an unarmed black man killed by police, the cost of living the cold calculation placing a dollar value on a human life and a voyage and nasa test flight and new hopes of reaching mars. ♪
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tonight questions of credibility and accountability following a shocking sex crime accusation at the university of virginia, the charges from one young woman became a head line story in "rolling stone" magazine but revelations are surfacing that have editors apologizing and the campus reeling and lisa stark reports. >> this has got to go. >> reporter: angry protests, calls for justice following allegations of a gang rape at a fraternity at the university of virginia. >> i'm appalled, simply appalled at the information that has come forward. >> reporter: information reported in this "rolling stone" article describing in graphic detail how a student named jackie was is assaulted by search men each taking their turn while the others watched. now that information is being called into question by the
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magazine itself. in a statement "rolling stone" says in the face of new information their now appears to be discrepancies in jackie's account and have come to the conclusion that the trust in her is misplaced. when it was published two weeks ago the writer told al jazeera america that jackty was discouraged from reporting her attack. >> in jackie's case she was told she would be black balanced from all the frats and her reputation would be shot as a girl who cried rape but what she was really being told in a sense was that you are going to be a paria on campus for the next four years. >> reporter: attempts to verify the story began raising questions about her credibility, the fraternity where the alleged rape took place was fan -- vandalized after the article came out and said there was no social event during the fall weekend of the alleged attack. it had no member then who was a school life guard.
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that is the person jackie claimed orchestrated her gang rape and according to jackie her attack was part of a fraternity initiation. the fraternity says initiation happens in the spring, not the fall. in the wake of the article uva suspended greek activities until january and began a look at policies on sexual assault and the university president now says that effort will continue. those who work with sexual assault victims worry about the follow out from the discredited story. >> i think it's really caused a lot of people to realize what kind of problem sexual assault is on campuses and it's allowed a lot of women out there who have experienced the same kind of situations to come forward. >> reporter: lisa stark, al jazeera, washington. laura sexual violent survivor and attorney and also the founder of the nonprofit serve justice that helps sexual assault victims, laura welcome what do you make of the "rolling
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stones" comments now tonight? >> i think unfortunately they are fairly poorly phrased. "rolling stone" does have to acknowledge they did not do their job, in fact, checking certain details in jackie's story, that is very important but to they say misplaced the trust they put in jackie is alluding to victim blaming and what the reality is with victims who under go severe trauma we don't know every detail of what happened and that is the purpose of trauma, it effects the brain and overwhelms your senses and maybe not remember every detail perfectly but doesn't mean your account is untrue and it's unfortunate they phrased it that way. >> what if it's untrue and she made it up? >> to tell you the truth i don't doubt at all something happened to jackie because i believe survivors and the reality is few if any makeup a false report and the sad reality of response in society is we too often when someone is not the perfect victim or doesn't know every
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single piece of information we inherently jump to it being untrue and there is truth in what jackie said and the truth is that is why we need police to investigate and journalists to fact check and it's hard for an individual to know about the case when they suffered the experience but i believe survivors and something happened to her and maybe not exactly light it was recounted be something happened. >> and people remember the duke lacrosse case and that story was made up and i understand the numbers and statistics but this could be the one that is. >> we also have people blame kobe bryant say she made up the story and a lot of people working on the case believe the victim wholeheartedly i personally do not disbelieve victims i think they are true until they are proved the other direction and casting doubt on a story is inappropriate and to discredit is to find contradictory information and we know some of the details here did not pan out we don't know if it was a different fraternity and got the name wrong and don't
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expect victims to know every detail because that is what police and journalists do. >> the washington post has interviewed her and gone through a number of details not just the name of the fraternity but a number of details in the case where thereare contradictory evidence but talk to me about what this means for survivors in this country and this is a high-profile case got a huge amount of attention and everybody talking about it and now this what does it mean for other survivors? >> i think it's kind of reenforcing the very unfortunate message we should not be given to victims and if you are not perfect and don't remember everything you will be disbelieved and that is unfortunate and "rolling stone" should have acknowledged they did not fact check details showing up as discrepancies but to blame her is just inappropriate and that is victim blaming and in our society we really need to be thoughtful, there are so many people who are victimized and i was not believed when i came forward and
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journalists vetted the stories and doing details that should have been done in her case to verify the truth of the statement and that is horrific for victims to go there so much to be believed and we do not scrutinize to that degree unless they fit the mold of a perpetrator and this goes on too often because of moments like this. >> reporter: in the last couple years there is attention focused on sexual assault on campus. does this divert the attention away from all the attention and the progress that seems to have been made by groups like yours in the past year or so? >> i think not if we approach this with the right mindset. i think how we approach this is to realize that trauma does effect the memory of survivors and there is an important role for having due diligence in conducting investigations and good for accused and victims, we are being truthful when we come forward and make reports but it has to due with a third-party
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investigate and come to the conclusion of the matter so i think if we are thinking about this intelligently we should reassess how we approach this and say there is a discrepancy and a story untrue is not fact. there is a discrepancy and let's get to the bottom of it before we put victims in the place of silence. >> that is a very good point and thank you very much and we will have more on the story and talk just about that point, the impact the case could have on journalism and on college campuses around the country but we are also following another big developing story tonight, night three of nationwide protests over the police killing of an unarmed african/american in new york. >> what do we want. >> justice. >> when do we want it. >> reporter: demonstrators are marching tonight in midtown manhattan and protesting the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer in the choke hold death of garner and caused a traffic jam in miami dade and shut down i-95 in
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miami and marched toward downtown and continue to march tonight, in washington protesters are staging die ins and they blocked intersections, shut down roadways around the city and up to a thousand people have taken to the streets in boston. so far it has been peaceful there tonight, last night ten people were arrested during demonstrations in boston. paul is in manhattan tonight with more on this story, paul? >> well, good evening, john, a very different story in manhattan tonight from what we have seen for the past two nights, i'm in lower manhattan and a heavy police presence but almost no sign of the demonstrators. now, they were supposed to or on social media the plan was for them to meet up here about 5:00 but it's been 40 degrees and steady rain, very cold and wet here for the past several hours, the most we saw was a small
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group, maybe a dozen or so stage add demonstration by a christmas shopping market and since then we have not seen a protester and police and they are taking shelter in the "starbucks" and other areas near other shops around here and so far very quiet here in union square but it's a different story elsewhere the in the city and seen reports and video of a group of protesters that made it in macys, the flag ship store on 34th street and staged a die in inside macys and they left the store and another small group by columbus circle making their way east and we also heard reports of others by foley square and so far nothing near the kind of numbers of disruptions that we have seen for the past two nights, john. >> reporter: they are out in new york again tonight but of course the rain is keeping some people from the streets tonight. this is not the first time the police had to deal with mass protests so why is this time any different? >> well, that is right, john.
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as you mentioned they certainly have the nypd dealt with protests for decades and what we have learned from talking to experts about the police they may have learned some lessons about how to deal with these kinds of protests and maybe diffuse some of the tensions particularly in the wake of this grand jury decision. every night since the grand jury decision not to indict the officer involved in the death of eric garner thousands of protesters have marched all over new york city under the watchful eye of the nypd. >> give me some room. >> reporter: it's emotional and at times confrontational. but what it has not been is violent. a far cry from scenes like these. 2011 the nypd cracks down on occupy wall street, making thousands of arrests. heavy handed police tactics prompted complaints from protesters and civil liberties
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groups. 2004 the republican national convention, nypd and pays a settlement in a wrongful arrest case. contrast that to this week's demonstrations against police brutality. loud and intense to be sure but largely peaceful. police say so far they have made about 300 arrests. by and large protesters have been allowed to move freely throughout the city and officials say they have been working closely with protest organizers to maintain order. former officer damon jones says nypd learned from experience. >> they are looking at it as an occupying force and the posture is nonaggressive so just to allow them just to blow steam and hopefully that it will last just a couple of days and go away. >> reporter: but response also
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comes down to the individual officer involved and just how much restraint they are able to show in the face of provocation. >> the best judge how to do this in a given situation is the officer or officers involved and so there is no generic formally working in a situation or action and it's important to remember at any given situation police officers are grossly out numbered by members of the public, if there is no compliance then they cannot police. >> reporter: compliance from the public outraged by the deaths of unarmed suspects in police custody but so far that outrage has not boiled over into violence on the streets of new york. so the weather definitely playing a factor or seemingly playing a factor and not the numbers we have seen in the past couple of nights and smaller
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groups through midtown and other parts of manhattan but not like the thousands disrupting major landmarks like the brooklyn bridge or holland tunnel and the things we have seen for two days but it is a fluid situation of course and it could change as the night goes on. >> reporter: we will watch with you tonight paul thank you very much, grand jury will hear the case of another fatal killing in an unarmed african/american man by new york police. in november he was shot and killed by rookie police officer in a housing project. the prosecutor in the case has not said what charges he will ask the grand jury to consider. the nypd called it accidental and today the family called for justice. >> my son was my life. there is nothing in this world because he is my pain and my heartache and i pray to god i get justice for my son because my son didn't deserve to die like that. >> reporter: that was at awake tonight in brooklyn, the
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prosecutor has not said when the grand jury will begin to hear the case. for a second night protesters in phoenix over a police killing of an unarmed african/american man there, earlier this week a drug suspect was shot by a police officer during a struggle. authorities say the officer mistook a pill bottle for a gun. about 150 protesters took to the streets of phoenix late thursday. and now to cleveland and the scathing federal report about police abuses in that city. the justice department says reforms are on the way. many residents say it's about time. and we are in cleveland. >> reporter: excessive force, years of injustice, a systematic pattern of reckless behavior according to a federal government report which reveals a dark side to the cleveland police department. the findings a surprise to some but not to residents such as shadow do johnson.
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>> i'm the type of person like i see a lot of stuff going wrong. >> reporter: the 23-year-old says he has been mistreated by police but will not talk out of fear. >> i feel a lot of police actually feel that they got so much power now that they can actually do what they want and can change up the rules how they feel they want it and everything because they have a badge. >> reporter: but justice departments nearly two year investigation backs up his claims and uncovered multiple civil rights violations within the police department. the force fostered an environment where superiors often times were aware of the wrongdoing but simply looked the other way. people have been hurt and lives have been lost. johnson says within the black community there is very little trust in the police, a shift could be underway. >> there are problems in the division of the cleveland police. and this review has demonstrated some of those problems.
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we will enter into a discussion with the department of justice as how we correct those problems that wing agree on that are really problems. >> reporter: washington is a community activist in cleveland and he is rallied behind the families who lost loved ones to police including 12-year-old rice who was carrying a toy gun when he was shot dead. washington says the city can start regaining the public trust letting top leaders go first. >> i think it needs to be met with leadership saying do you know what we messed up, the first thing we are going to do is resign. >> reporter: the city and the justice department have already begun negotiating reforms. and a federal monitor will eventually over see the force, johnson is not hopeful about the future yet. >> i will tell you right now the only hope i have is i see change, if i don't see it there is no hope yet. so they have to show me proof. actions speak louder than words. >> reporter: johnson with many
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in the community are now looking for change. but understand it will likely take time to bridge a gap that existed for decades. i'm with al jazeera, cleveland. coming up, next we have much of kobani and isil is still critically important and the effort to free an american journalist as his life is threatened by his al-qaeda captors.
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iran military conducted area strikes against isil in iraq according to a newspaper the guardian and u.s. led coalition launched 20 strikes against the group since wednesday and five of the groups targeted the city of kobani in syria and months of fighting nearly destroyed the city and we have more. >> reporter: that doesn't seem to be much of kobani left to
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fight for and three months of strikes and suicide bombs and street fighting reduced large parts of the town to rubble and most civilians are long gone and many would have trouble finding their homes if they came back but despite destruction these kurdish fighters are dodging snipers along front lines that remain largely unchanged. >> translator: it's true we have not made a major advance in kobani and fighters make progress everyday but it's slow because the situation is different but the slow advance is deliberate preparing for a major advance. >> reporter: there are air strikes everyday, at least 16 around kobani in the first four days of december compared to 11 across all parts of iraq under isil control and it was never strategically important but it became symbol important as kurds
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put up a fierce resistance to isil advance and now both sides are locked in a battle that has a lot to do with trying to preserve or enhance reputations. isil poured fighters in kobani and supply routes uneffected and this was a resent suicide car bombing at a border crossing. victory of isil in kobani would be trumpeted as victory or u.s. but they lost 50 fighters in this one failed assault and the kurds and iraqi peshmerga are struggling to make headway. >> translator: with enough weapons to eliminate isil and take a long time to completely clear them out from here and street fighting is really tough and only advance by clearing one house at a time. >> reporter: the u.s. and the coalition partners unwilling to involve their troops in combat in syria. they prefer to train so called moderate fighters in neighboring countrys. but that is yet to get going.
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for now the kurds with help from iraqi peshmerga must fight their own battles, i'm with al jazeera on the turkey/syria border. fighting isil one of the top challenges at the pentagon and president obama nominated the man he wants to lead the charge. ashton carter will replace former senator chuck hagel as next secretary of defense and a former deputy defend secretary and a trained physicists and policy expert who has taught at hard harva rshgharvard. >> and a collar she is one of the nation's foremost national security leaders. >> i accepted the president's offer to be nominated for secretary of defense because of my regard for his leadership. i accepted it because of the seriousness of the strategic
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challenges we face. but also the bright opportunities that exist for america if we can come together to grab hold of it. carter is expected to be confirmed by the senate, he would become president obama's fourth defense secretary. luke summers is the latest journalist to be held captive by al-qaeda. after a failed u.s. rescue the group is now three ending to kill him in a matter of days and david shuster reports. >> reporter: luke summer was a photo journalist in the yemen capitol when he was kidnapped november 11 in arab peninsula and a threat he will be killed within days and plea looking for any help to get me out of the situation and my life is in danger and i ask if anything can be done please let it be done. it's unclear when the message was recorded but president obama
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authorized a mission to rescue him a few weeks ago and members of seal team six raided an al-qaeda hide out on a yemen mountain side. >> when the u.s. government had reliable intelligence and an operational plan, the president authorized the department of defense to conduct an operation to rescue mr. summers. he was not present. >> reporter: eight hostages rescued and six yemen and one saudi and one ethiopian and summers moved two days earlier and for the first time since the kidnapping the family of summers is speaking out asking al-qaeda to spare luke summers' life. >> you have taken good care of luke and he is very healthy and we thank you for that. please show mercy and give us an opportunity to see our luke again. he is all that we have. >> reporter: but following the
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attempted rescue al-qaeda and in the arabian peninsula is threatening to kill summers by the weekend if the demands which are unknown are unmet and they say we obama and the government of proceeding ahead in any foolish action and the family says they were unaware of the u.s. mission. >> the only photo journalist and not responsible for actions the u.s. government has taken and we had no prior knowledge of the rescue attempt for luke and mean no harm to anyone. >> reporter: state department says it's still doing everything to rescue summers. >> i have been in touch with his family and will provide more details about that obviously given our privacy here but certainly be in contact with them throughout the u.s. government about how we can possibly find and bring him home. >> reporter: david shuster, al jazeera, new york. coming up, next more on our top stories new doubts about reported rape at the university of virginia fraternity plus. just a month ago washington
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voters approved the gun control measure, i'm allen and now people who use firearms in the normal course of business are trying to figure out what it means. crucial three hour space mission is a success and how it could pave the way to mars.
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♪ this is al jazeera america, i'm john and casting doubt about the campus rape allegations in the "rolling stone" magazine article and what lawyers for the fraternity say. gun control, the strict new law in washington state, why some say the rules aren't clear. gruesome task, calculating the value of human life but who decides? and test flight, the launch and landing of the orion space craft and what it could mean for the goal of putting man on mars. ♪ now a new questions tonight of accusations of rape at the university of virginia and the article in "rolling stone"
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magazine that made i public uva student said she was attacked by 7 men in a house in 2012 and the story sparked protest and the university quickly suspend all fraternity activity for the semester. now the magazine has apologized citing discrepancies in the woman's account and john watson is associate professor of journalism ethics at the american university in d.c. tonight and jamie floyd is al jazeera america legal contributor in our studio. i want to start with you, john, for one second. obviously the "rolling stones" sort of in between a rock and a hard place tonight and haven't so far they have not said their story was completely wrong but they have raised questions about it. what's next? >> well, i think full disclosure and admission that they did not follow proper ethical procedures in vetting and publishing the
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story. >> reporter: what procedures are you talking about? >> first and foremost was the decision to not fully identify a principal party in story. it seemed that they did not recognize the fact that a fundamental ethical directive says identify every person who is principal to a news story. >> reporter: right but most people and most journalist don't name a sexual assault victim in their stories, it's just practice. in fact, in some states it's not allowed. >> well, the first amendment has been tested on this point in the supreme court and the supreme court says you can do that. the first amendment will protect you if you reveal the identity of a sexual assault victim. but that's why i say it's an ethical question. >> reporter: right. >> the simple fact you have a legal right to do this does that mean it's proper journalism? the reason for that directive is
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it helps ensure the credibility of this principal. people generally will not lie if they know everyone is going to know this is the person who was telling this lie and i'm not saying jackie was lying. i'm saying the "rolling stone" editors and reporter improperly dealt with this ethical issue. you point out correctly that most journalists do not identify rape victims. but they do this supposedly and they should do it by looking at the other ethical directives that would allow them to violate that first ethical directive and usually that is the directive to minimize harm to this victim. >> reporter: , in fact, jamie courts do go to some lengths to try to protect victims when they testify, right? >> that is right. and you raise a very good point that journalists and journalism organizations are very torn about whether or not to identify
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victims and i think this situation, this case is going to have us all reevaluated to do that but john they didn't do the rest of their work and didn't check who the alleged perpetrators were. they didn't trouble check the facts of the story. simple things like whether or not the party jackie, that is an sudanym jackie said happened that weekend could happen or whether or not this fraternity was pledging which is why she said this event went on and no pledging going on at this fraternity in the fall and facts and one young man was alleged to be a life guard on campus and none of the boys in the fraternity turned out to be a life guard and this is what the reporter could have checked without identifying a single person tied to that story. that is basic journalism 101. now i'm talking like a journalist and not like a lawyer, they didn't do any of
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that. >> reporter: john, this is just sloppy. >> yeah, it's sloppy. i'm focusing on the ethics of the situation because one of the primary purposes of ethics is to avoid this sort of sloppiness. one of the first clues to potential discrepancies was indicated in the apology "rolling stone" issued this evening and it pointed out that jackie asked them not to interview the people who she accused of attacking her, that is a red flag, alarm bells go off because journalists are supposed to be skeptical of every principal in a news story and one principal says to you don't check with the other principal who might prove me wrong like 30 alarm bells should go off right away. >> reporter: but it seems to me, jamie, they just went halfway, they just went halfway, they didn't -- they just said we may have misplaced our trust in her but they didn't say we were
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wrong or made a mistake. >> so far but they will have to say more because there will be lawsuits and if the university of virginia doesn't pursue this i will put money down the fraternity will and desire to protect the victim and let's say you are on the story and she says this is what happened to me but i don't want you to pursue it with any of the men because of my psychological damage, my emotional damage, okay, fine. we won't pursue it but we also cannot pursue the story in that case. because we can't source it properly. and we owe it to our journalism organization but also to our pursuit of the truth to pursue the story fully if we are going to do it, we don't have to identify you but we do have to pursue the other principals in the story as john says. >> jamie, let's go to your lawyer's hat for a second, so who is at risk here legally? >> well, obviously "rolling stone" is the big one. >> reporter: the victim. >> the alleged victim is sadly
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because obviously something is very wrong there. either something terrible happened to her or something terrible is happening in her mind. so she is the first and principal defendant and no deep pockets and a named department and the reporter is the next department and of course the editors and "rolling stone" is the biggest, deepest pocket. >> reporter: the strange thing about this, john, is that washington post has now interviewed jackie, the alleged victim in this case. and found all these individual cases in which apparently there are contradictions. most newspapers, most news organizations had been through difficult times where they made mistakes. this one sounds like a huge mistake. how would you categorize it compared to all the journalism fopas over the years. >> we will see more and more of this because there are fewer
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editors and there are fewer journalists who are trained to make ethical decisions. a lot of people think ethics are optional, no, ethical decision making is a fundamental journalism skill. the ethics that say do this and don't do that have been generated by scholars and working professionals over decades who foresee problems based on fopas they have made and set up these guidelines to help you avoid them. looking backward everybody sees them but if you followed ethics from day one these mistakes probably would not have been made. and i think the fundamental mistake is and reflected in the apology the "rolling stones" said we misplaced our trust. journalists shouldn't trust anybody. journalists are not about telling the truth. journalists are about collecting the best evidence of the truth. and when you're collecting
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evidence you have to test it before you publish it. and even though i understand the human sympathy you would feel for someone who had been through this horrible ordeal, journalists cannot afford to be that humane, you need to question because your reputation and the reputation of victims of reputation destruction are on the line. it's too much responsibility to proceed without having ethics guiding you. >> future victims now who may have real claims but now will have to suffer the ramifications of this situation will be chilled as well. >> reporter: sadly we no a lot less about the story than when we started and we still don't know a lot about the story so we will be following it and jamie and john god to have you on the program. sexual assault allegations can change the life of the person accused, america tonight's christopher has more on that.
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>> reporter: for alison strange it began with a phone call about her son, josh. >> the phone call. the phone call. you know, there is always that one call that you never expect to get. it was a voice that wasn't josh and he said josh has been arrested. >> he didn't know why. >> no, i had no idea, i had no idea. i'm sorry, it all just willing floods back. >> reporter: the campus of auburn university is where josh strange's college dream school turned into a nightmare. a former eagle scout he dreamed of attending auburn university since he was 12 years old and to the end of the freshman year he pledged a fraternity and dated a woman he met through friends and after a month of dating they changed their facebook to in a relationship and sleeping together and one night they went back to his apartment after a night of heavy drinking and things started to go wrong. >> it had to happen so i go to
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sleep and a little while later and my girlfriend had woken up and she initiated and everything and we start having sex that night and all of a sudden about midway through she just loses it. >> reporter: josh's girlfriend called the police who detained him for questioning. she says josh forced himself on her and he says she initiated the sex and accuser did not press charges and, in fact, she returned to josh's apartment the next morning to apologize for the misunderstanding. >> i was just confused and so she looked at me and said, well, you know, it was nothing. i freaked out, i'm sorry and it was just she said a misunderstanding. i don't really know what she meant by that but she just kept apologizing. >> reporter: the couple continued to date and sleep together for another six weeks until their relationship started to fall apart, a month after they cutoff communication josh was again arrested at his house. >> i was arrested for another charge that she had made up.
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she claimed that i had shown up in a parking lot of a frozen yogurt place and slapped her in the face with a set of keys and what i got arrested for. >> reporter: he denies the charge and said witnesses were with him 15 miles away from the parking lot where it allegedly took place but this time the accuser pressed charges for misdemeanor simple assault and felony forcible sodomy for the earlier incident. it didn't take long for word to spread through campus. >> the rumor mill was turning and at one point i was standing in like at chick-fil-a and i don't eavesdrop on people's conversations but i heard this did you hear about that josh strange guy. he raped a girl. at that point i got out of line and i just left and went home. >> reporter: on november 7 an on campus hearing was held to determine josh's future at the university, no judge and a jury of two students, a staff member from liberal arts and agriculture college and josh and
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lawyers present but not allowed to speak. >> you are not really represented. >> not at all. >> reporter: a university librarian was over the hearing. a tape recording of the hearing revealed while she found the accuser credible and josh a potential threat to accuser's safety she never heard the accuser's version of events. >> i don't need to know a lot of details and so i didn't ask her to go until great detail because i don't want survivor to have to tell the story over and over again. >> reporter: no cross examination and josh chose to remain silent the entire hearing, after 99 minutes the discipline committee recommended josh be expelled from auburn university. what was your reaction to auburn's recommendation? >> honestly i thought i was going to be sick. josh was as white as a piece of notebook paper and just looked like he had been punched in the stomach. and i walked up and i looked and josh said, mom, i'm gone.
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they don't want me here any more, i can't stay. they expelled me. >> reporter: a few months later in a criminal court josh was cleared of all charges, a grand jury refused to indict him for the sodomy charge and finding there was insufficient evidence for probable cause. when the simple assault case went to trial the accuser didn't show up and the case dropped however josh was still expelled from auburn university. >> he was given this from the officer of the president, he has a criminal no trespass order against him. he cannot step foot on any auburn university property. i guess for the rest of his life. >> reporter: the university denied request for an interview but provided a statement, as you are doubtless aware federal requirements of the department of education mandate universities follow a process that differs from the judicial and law enforcement system in many ways and are clear and come with severe penalties for
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noncompliance and we at auburn take these requirements seriously and reflected in our code of student discipline. it's true that u.s. colleges are required by federal law title nine of the civil rights act to investigate all claims of sexual assault or lose federal funding but campus hearing like josh's caused concerns and yes means yes laws have fanned the fears. despite the fact they had no evidence to indict you auburn chose to expel you. >> right. >> reporter: why? >> the explanation that we have really come up with is just title nine compliance, you know, they had to have something to say that they are complying with this federal mandate to try to keep the funding they get. >> in the letter writing campaign. >> reporter: they funded a group cased face families advocating for campus equality and other move mothers of sons accused of assault on campuses
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and want it to be handled by criminal justice and not universities. >> how in the world without any evidence and without any witnesses, without anything, how in the world can someone's life be basically ruined, how is that possible on mere words and that is what it felt like they plug and we were swirling down the drain. >> reporter: schools wrestling with how to handle accusations of assault advocates push for more aggressive response but alison and her son hope to remind people there is another side to the story. i'm in spartanburg, south carolina. tomorrow on the morning newscast an interview with emily a friend of the university of virginia rape accuser and a sexual assault survivor herself. there are more protests across the country tonight over the killing of an unarmed african/american man in new york. >> what do we want. >> justice.
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>> reporter: rallies in response to the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer in the choke hold death of eric garner and his family says they are considering a civil lawsuit against the city and could get millions in compensation. but how do you determine the value of a human life? it's a calculation that insurance companies, corporations, even the government make all the time. our scientist correspondence jake ward explains, your life and potential earnings and the value you represent in society is about $8.7 million, that is the statistical value of your life. i don't mean you in particular though, it's a standard measure, averaged by academic researchers who survey insurance companies and government institutions and even comes with its own acronym vsl which stands for the value of a statistical life.
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regulators use vsl to determine how much money to spend on safety standards that save human lives but the thing is it's not a fixed number. federal agencies value life differently depending on the kinds of regulations that they are considering and changes from case to case and the environmental protection agency as it seeks finding mortality to what may be toxic to you in the environment uses 7.6 million per human life and transportation around 6 million dollars and food and drug administration and fda puts a price tag of $7.9 million on human life. now, the value of a life is calculated differently in courts and the death of brown or garner could result in millions of awards of the families of the dead depending on the victim and lawyers are handing out tens of millions to compensate victims and their families in the case of defective ignition systems in
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general motors vehicles. in cases of compensation another form of gruesome math comes into play in the courts. the lawyer who is administrating gm's fund begins with an arbitrary base price of a million dollars per life lost and adds in a lifetimes lost earnings which occur he has to taylor to each victim's occupation and then another $300,000 for each surviving dependent and spouse. that sort of morbid math has been applied from september 11 attack to the 2010 spill in the gulf of mexico and it's the practical math of death. but in cases of awards determined in court another even stranger or more abstract comes into play and judges can consider something called hedonic damages, a $amount of the loss of enjoyment of life if you imagine that and applied in
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the case of nonfatal injuries or harm like being maimed in an accident or wrongly in prisoned so it's applied to the living but it's a way of thinking about the price, the value of life. accidental death whether at the hands of a police or the wheel of a malfunctioning vehicle feels utterly random and makes it so brutal and sad but the truth is that death is everywhere and this sort of random horror is common enough that our society developed this cold, brutal math to cope with it. john we literally put a price tag on tragedy. >> ward reporting and the government reported stronger than expected job growth last month, more than 300,000 jobs created in construction, manufacturing and healthcare and unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8%. in washington state buying guns just got a little more difficult, voter approved law went in effect yesterday, a
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background check is now required in almost every firearm purchase but there is a lot of contusion about how this new law works. allen has details. >> accustom made short barrel semiautomatic rifle, pretty in pink and supposed to be a christmas surprise says eric dish. >> a wrapped case on christmas morning and have it be this amazing oh, my gosh present under the tree but i cannot do that. >> reporter: under the new law in washington state that gift to his girlfriend could be considered a firearms transfer, illegal without a criminal background check through a licensed gun dealer, in this house a frustration. >> i would love for politicians and lawmakers to focus on people breaking the law in the first place and stop going after me. >> reporter: background checks for gun show and online sales. but it could make just handing a gun to a friend to shoot at a range like this one illegal and could have implications for businesses that use guns. in the state of washington in
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what are called the armed licensed professions most companies own the firearms that their employees use and check them out to the employees and now private security contracts and private investigators and bail recovery agents are wondering if the way they are doing business all along is a string of felonies. >> 45 caliber semiautomatic and they are cool and carrying one now. >> reporter: he says his rental business probably won't be effected and he supports the concept of background checks for sales. >> if you count that as a fell on felon you should not have a firearm and that is safe. >> reporter: what he is hearing from customers is confusion about exactly what they can and cannot do without breaking the law. >> it's the transfers, the big transfers language and the ambiguity and uncertainty with that is what upsets the majority of people in this community. >> reporter: ralph's organization backed the initiative, he calls those concerns about gun transfers
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nonsense, just a smokes scream and says prosecutors are not going to bother with things like christmas gun rifles. >> and they brought up this issue to get away from the main point and the main point is this is an important first step to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have guns. >> reporter: that is little comfort for eric and erin and others who see gun ownership as a matter of recreation and constitutional rights. >> if it wasn't the intention to criminalize otherwise normal transfers of firearms why is it a written law. i have not met many lawyers that make mistakes that big and it's accurate and hard to break. plus it's pink. >> it is pink. >> reporter: allen in seattle. orion and what it means for the future of space travel.
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a new beginning today for american space program. >> five, four, three, two, one and lift off at dawn, the dawn of orion and a new era of american space exploration. >> reporter: nasa deep space capsule orion launchd this morning and the lift off was picture perfect and designed to take astronauts to mars and it traveled further from earth than any craft designed for human
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flight since 1972. >> as successful as it was and there is more to come down the road and looking forward to that and can't wait to get back to work and serial 002 that one is on the space launch system and i tell you the site of the orion on top of the space launch will take your breath away before it takes flight and when it does take flight america will take notice the space program is just incredible and full of vitality. >> reporter: the landing was considered perfect and orion splashed in the pacific ocean and the next launch is four years and the first mission with astronauts is set for 2021, coming up, at 11:00 eastern actor, director producer griffin dunn talks about the new project regarding his famous ain't author joan vivian. >> and we have a crew and camera man and pile on a van and we shot this video, all different kinds of sizes and sections from
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the book. and we had like a lot of fun making it. >> you find yourself swimming in the collar blue and the light is blue and french call this time of due lure blue and to the english it was the glooming and this book is called blue knights because of when i began it i was going to illness and end of promise and dwindling of the days and dying of the brightness and blue knights are the opposite of dying of the brightness but they are also its warning. >> reporter: more of my interview with griffin dunn and the day's top stories tonight at 11:00 eastern on our news case and to the picture of the day, it is the november cover of "rolling stone," the issue that detailed the uva sexual assault story. the claims of the victim are now being called into question and so is the journalism behind the
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investigation. that's our newscast and thanks for watching, i'm in new york and i will see you back here at 11:00 eastern.
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let's take a look at china. china overtakes us. it's the world's manufacturer. america has to live with the china that exists.